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Gallbladder Cancer Treatment

Gallbladder Cancer is a very rare cancer of digestive system. Gall bladder is a small pouch-like structure that stores bile. It is placed exactly in the upper abdomen under the liver. Gall bladder cancer may be very hard to diagnose during the early stages because of lack of symptoms and signs. In patients who come with gall stones, gallbladder cancer could be detected after the removal of stones.
How it Works
There are three major steps involved in the treatment of gallbladder cancer, which include:
urgery: This step is decided depending upon the stage of your gallbladder cancer, after completion of a few tests. A laparoscopy may be one to examine your gall bladder and its surroundings. Gall bladder surgery is usually of two types:
- Potentially curative surgery: This is done only if there is a good chance of your cancer being removed completely. This involves the actual removal of the cancerous tumor from your gall bladder. In some cases, the gall bladder may have to be removed completely along with a portion of liver and lymph nodes that might have been affected by the cancer. This procedure is called cholecystectomy.
- Palliative surgery: Palliative surgery is opted for, if the cancer has spread to the other organs and cannot be removed completely. This relieves pain, prevents complications and prolongs the life of the person affected by gallbladder cancer.
- Radiotherapy or Radiation Therapy: At this stage the focus will be on destroying the cancer cells permanently. A radiotherapy machine emits high energetic radiation beam externally to eliminate the cancer cells post-surgery. In certain cases this therapy may be used to reduce the size of the cancer tumor prior to the surgery. Nevertheless, radiotherapy would be suggested only in some cases of gall bladder cancer.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a procedure where the cancer cells are destroyed through the help of drugs. Injections would be given through IV tube or you may be asked to swallow certain capsules, depending upon your condition. Chemotherapy may be advised either before or after the gall bladder surgery. It may also be combined with radiotherapy for faster recovery. It might take a long time to recover from gallbladder cancer treatment. The proper treatment options needs to be decided only after weighing the benefits and risks and after considering how this might affect the quality of your life.
Side Effects and Risks
Although advanced technology equipment and techniques may minimize the side effects of gallbladder cancer treatment, you may come across a few such as Swelling and infections. Radiation therapy may involve side effects such as
  • Mild skin reactions
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach upset
  • Subsequent damage to nearby organs such as liver
Nevertheless, these are of a temporary nature and will disappear within a few days after the treatment. When combined with chemotherapy, you may come across some amount of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and hair loss too. Again, these effects are temporary and can be handled through proper treatment.
Preparing for the gallbladder cancer treatment
Before undergoing Gallbladder cancer treatment you may have to prepare yourself physical and mentally. Meet with your doctors, discuss your allergies and inform about the kind of medications you have been taking. Smoking and consumption of alcohol may have to be stopped completely before your treatment starts. Your doctor may also restrict you from consuming red meats.
You may have to go through a few tests to make sure you are medically fit to go through the treatment. Apart from the blood tests and urine analysis, your doctor may also advise you a few other tests that include:
  • Ultrasonography (US) or Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Cholangiography
  • PET scan
What to expect after gallbladder cancer treatment?
Gallbladder cancer treatment has the power to destroy your cancerous cells permanently. However, this depends totally on the stage at which you are diagnosed, the malignancy of the tumor in your gall bladder and the parts to which the cancer has spread. While some may gain amazing benefits from this treatment, there are a few that may have to go for regular treatments to keep their cancer under control. They will have to find a way to relieve their symptoms.
Follow-up care becomes very important if you don’t want to take a chance of your cancer coming back or recurring. Regular physical examinations, blood tests and imaging tests may be required to monitor your cancer and minimize your side effects. 

Results of gallbladder cancer treatment
By following your doctor’s instructions and attending follow-up sessions regularly, you can obtain great results of gallbladder cancer treatment. Cancer is not a disease that can be cured completely. However, you can learn to live a new life by handling your symptoms and controlling the recurring cancer cells. You may need lots of rest after surgery and radiotherapy. However, you will be able to live a normal life after chemotherapy.
With strong will power and a positive attitude the toughest of the battles can be won – Gallbladder cancer is no exception. Find out more by consulting a gallbladder cancer specialist right away.